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Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Mentioned are USA Slavery, Eugenics, Unethical Doctors, Human Experimentation and mainly (not limited to) the African American Community, slogan truths revealed--"The Fish Rots from the Head First," "Evil Reigns when Good People do No

Though it focuses on human rights crimes by the medical community against African Americans, a lot more is covered including the overall eugenics issues against people that were deemed unfit, and much, much, more on the culture of imposing human slavery, of subjugation....
Though it focuses on human rights crimes by the medical community against African Americans, a lot more is covered including the overall eugenics issues against people that were deemed unfit, and much, much, more on the culture of imposing human slavery, of subjugation. The author is unbiased mentioning black on black human rights crimes in the medical profession, corruption in the NAACP at some point, as well as the eugenicists going after "poor white women," that lived in African American neighborhoods during that time period when eugenicists were a strong force. The worst happened in the southern states, according to the book. The main underlying theme is the horrors of slavery that can be seen also apart from the African American community whether it exists in a communist government or a fascist, military dictatorship or in a "democracy" such as the USA.

I am halfway through this nonfiction and it is quite difficult to stomach (as a lot of it reads much worse than a horror film) such as inept doctors performing human experimentation (i.e., gynecological surgery, unecessary limb removal, etc.) on live southern US slaves without the use of anesthesia on the slave patients during the 19th Century. Supposedly, according to this book, this was done to instill fear to prevent a slave rebellion and unethical doctors that did these horrific experiments were promoted. One unethical medical doctor of that time period is currently seen by the medical community with a statue of himself on Central Park's Fifth Avenue (New York City actually had the largest African slave trade due to the ports, and shipped many to the southern states).

Mentioned is that the doctors could have been ethical and not abused patients, and could have used anesthesia on those that needed surgery, but subjugation of African Americans for slavery was a major factor. Most of the heinous human rights crimes against African American originated and was worse in the southern states making one think that southerners are to blame for most of it, and that when they go into trades such as the FBI or CIA, that they further their subjugation of those they consider inferior or want to enslave through secret experimentation through those agenices in the USA and abroad.

I actually had heard of many of these stories in this nonfiction prior to reading this book, but this book has a lot of information that I was unaware of. As with other human rights issues, it seems to start from the top down, lousy government/presidential leadership that does not protect all of the people and does not set a standard of good ethics, and the many do-gooders that did not do more to prevent the horrors.

This nonfiction makes one think about what may have happened to African slaves in South America at the hands of the medical community there in the 19th Century, what may be happening/happened in communist countries, fascist countries, etc. It also causes one to see the whole slavery scene as some sort of demonic existence that feeds on its own miseries. and likes to be displayed in statues...


Other nonfiction I recommend:
"Defending the Master Race: Conservation, Eugenics, and the Legacy of Madison Grant," by Jonathan Peter Spiro (University of Vermont Press, 2009).

posted by 1000302 on February 24, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Conclusions Misleading

Someone pointed this book out to me, so I checked it out at a local bookstore. Just from what I have read, it actually made me mad. I have not read the book in its entirety (and will not), but I have thoroughly browsed it and fully read a number of sections. As a resear...
Someone pointed this book out to me, so I checked it out at a local bookstore. Just from what I have read, it actually made me mad. I have not read the book in its entirety (and will not), but I have thoroughly browsed it and fully read a number of sections. As a research student in the modern area she attacks, I do know a number of things about the fields she is attacking (and the history). It is one thing to bring up and 'air' the historical topics of past documented studies, what has been done in the past is free game and I am more than happy to see that exposed and in print. Although, some of her conclusions on that are questionable at best, statements like, 'Enslavement could not have existed and certainly could not have persisted without medical science.' That is not the subject that angers me. A number of the abuses she discusses also pertain to the very recent past, but still seem to lack depth in analyzation. Many of the things she writes about are shocking on their own, and rightfully so, but some of her modern assumptions are just plain inaccurate, unfounded, and misleading. I do not find a fair number of her brash assumptions on modern research to be at all founded. These include her reflections on modern day research, which at points lack credibility and are often not backed up by any sort of real evidence. The NY Times just published an article (January 23, 2007), 'White Doctors, Black Subjects: Abuse Disguised as Research' by Denise Grady, and her assumptions are one thing even they suggest as being questionable. 'Some of Ms. Washington¿s arguments are less convincing than others. She questions the ¿significance¿ of two black men¿s being selected as the first subjects to test the AbioCor artificial heart in 2001 and 2002. But was it significant? Since two of the first six subjects were black, she notes that they made up 33 percent of the test subjects, ¿almost three times their representation in the population,¿ and suggests that blacks were used disproportionately to test a device that, if ever approved, would probably be too expensive for most minorities. Ultimately, 14 people tested the AbioCor, but she never gives the complete racial breakdown. From her account, it¿s hard to figure out what was going on. ' (Denise Grady) Why would any research team would have 33% of their test subjects be black? Maybe she should have looked at the statistics of heart disease in the United States. 'In 1995, the heart disease death rate among African American men was 29 percent higher than the rate for white men, 90 percent higher than the rate for American Indian and Alaska Native men, 97 percent higher than the rate for Latinos, and 126 percent higher than the rate for Asian and Pacific Islander men.' (CDC) 'In another venture onto thin ice, Ms. Washington calls for ¿more exhaustive studies¿ of an experimental AIDS vaccine that initially appeared to protect blacks and Asians, but not whites. But when the data were closely analyzed, the first finding did not hold up: the vaccine did not work for anybody. Even so, Ms. Washington implies that the vaccine did have promise for minorities but was abandoned purely because it did not help whites. If there is evidence to justify sinking more money into this vaccine, she does not provide it.' (Grady)

posted by Anonymous on January 23, 2007

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